Participating Artists and Organizations

Committed Artists

Isaiah Zagar will lead the community in a Mosaic Art charrette and Mosaic Construction with recycled materials workshop. Through more than years of creating artwork on a grand, public scale, Isaiah Zagar has helped shape Philadelphia into a thriving creative community. A Philadelphia legend, Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of the city with stunning mosaic murals created from recycled broken bottles and other found objects. The Magic Garden, the fantastical home base for his mosaic workshops, is a labyrinth of glass bottles, bicycle wheels, discarded ceramic plates, hand made tiles, and shards of mirror that form walls and tunnels, as well as decorative mosaics that even feature poetry!

Marcus Kwame Anderson will lead the youth of the neighborhood in mural workshops on the block. Anderson was born in 1976 in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to Albany, NY at the age of 2. He’s been creating art for as long as he can remember, and loves creativity, music, life, love, happiness, and freedom of expression. Much of his art is a representation of the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora. “I believe that the arts can be a powerful vehicle for change and it’s an artist’s responsibility to use their talent to say something. I have a lot to say and art is how I’m most comfortable communicating.” Anderson was lead project on the mural art workshop with School 1 and Troy Alley Action, documented by Media Alliance Productions in the video “Art and Action.”

Tovey Halleck will lead welding sculpture workshops for our public art project. Halleck’s sculptures are made out of metal bars (rails, beams, and found objects) are sawed systematically before shaping and soldering, thus suggesting an interesting sense of space, movement, and force. These sculptures, which like lost caterpillars seem to be in a constant search for a hard to find state of rest and peace, manage to alienate but also to charm the viewer through their bewildered sense of movement. Tovey is a member of the Rivington School, with which he has welded art gardens and other fantastic structures. Tovey is also the farmer of a 12-acre farm in Roxbury, NY, dedicated to sustainable growing techniques.

Brenda Ann Kenneally will teach the documentary photography workshop “Something Beautiful,” and document the transformation of the block. Kenneally has worked with us exhibiting her photos, teaching photojournalism workshops, and curating several exhibitions connected to her “Upstate Girls” photo journalism series. She searches for ways to motivate inner-city women to empower themselves, despite their limited social and economic opportunities. Kenneally’s work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Ms. Magazine, among other publications.

Dee Dee Halleck will curate a “Community Arts Documentary” series to be screened in our community’s newly created Freedom Square art park, and will consult on the project. Dee Dee Halleck is a media artist, activist, and theorist, founder of Paper Tiger Television and cofounder of the Deep Dish Satellite Network, the first grass roots community television network. She is Professor Emerita in the Department of Communication at the University of California at San Diego. Her book, “Hand Held Visions: the Impossible Possibilities of Community Media.”

Youth Media Sanctuary (YMS) is a community media arts peer-training project, designed to teach multimedia skills to young people in North Troy, NY, and to help develop urgently needed independent local voices in our economically devastated neighborhood.

Joe Fama is an architect and expert in community design, and will provide key leadership in the public art project. Fama is an architect and designer who is the Executive Director of Troy Architecture Project. TAP, Inc. provides design, architectural, planning and graphic assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals, nonprofit corporations and neighborhood groups. TAP disseminates information on programs instituted for the benefit of the targeted populations and acts as advocate for such persons on planning decisions. Joe has advised Media Alliance for years, in moving to the North Troy area and saving the church now called home.

Barb Nelson will lead design charrettes, serve as a liason to the City, and lead mural workshops with neighborhood children and community members. Nelson is an architect, community mural artist, and Project Manager of Campus Planning and Facilities at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a leading member of Troy Alley Action, and has extensive collaborations with Media Alliance, School 1, and the Troy City Schools. Nelson is the newly appointed Head of the City of Troy Planning Commission.

Rebekah Rice will lead design charrettes and hands-on workshops for all ages to envision and create sustainable and beautiful landforms in which to plant edible landscaping for neighborhood children to eat. Rice is a ceramic artist, designer, and a teacher of permaculture, gardening, technology, and art. She has worked since 2002 with teachers in math, science and  technology to develop curriculum materials that will permit more effective teaching. She manages a family vegetable farm and CSA, and raises chickens, fruit, flowers and herbs for sale.



Committed Artists from the Sanctuary’s Artist/Educator Team:

Branda Miller will be the Project Coordinating Artist for the “Found Art in North Troy” project, and will be an artist/educator in Youth Media Sanctuary and “Be The Media” workshops. She is an internationally recognized media artist, Professor of Media Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Arts and Education Coordinator at The Sanctuary for Independent Media.

Andrew Lynn will lead design charrettes, connect TBR to the project, and be an artist/educator in Youth Media and Bike Art workshops. Lynn is a media artist (producer, shooter, editor, graphic design) and professor at Hudson Valley Community College. He received an MFA in Electronic Arts from iEAR Studios at Rensselaer. He teaches video production, digital imaging, stop-motion animation, and media literacy, as Media Educator at the Sanctuary, and also at The Ark, Children’s’ Media Project, and Eyebeam. Andrew is also the creator of Whirl-Mart and Troy Bike Rescue, and has co-directed several documentaries. He is a past Education and Development Manager for the Youth Channel at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, where he taught workshops, developed curriculum, coordinated community media trainings, and supervised a teams of peer educators.

Ellie Markovitch will teach DIY Snack-shops, Youth Media Sanctuary workshops and the art of photography workshops, as well as document the process, with special focus on changes on the block from a food desert to a more healthy, conscious community. She is a food and multimedia artist. As a photojournalist, her career has taken her on foreign assignments to Mexico, Turkey, Poland, India, El Salvador and Puerto Rico. Major photojournalist honors and awards include first place, News Audio Slideshow (Independent) on the Web from National Press Photographers Association—The Best Of Photojournalism 2008 International Competition. She was the recipient of the New Jersey Understanding Award from New Jersey Press Photographers Association and recognized from her feature photography by New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Nao Bustamante will lead design charrettes on performance art “happenings” and
movement flow for this public art project. She is an Associate Professor of New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Bustamante is an internationally known artist, originally from California; she now resides in upstate New York. Bustamante’s precarious work encompasses performance art, video installation, visual art, filmmaking, and writing. The NY Times says, “She has a knack for using her body.”

Kathy High will lead design charrettes on ways that “Bio-Art” projects can be integrated into the plan. She is a visual/media artist, independent curator, and Associate Professor of Video and New Media at the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She teaches digital video production, history and theory and has been working in the area of documentary and experimental film, video and photography for more than twenty years. She produces videos and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of medicine/bioscience, science fiction, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She started the BioArts Initiative at Rensselaer, a collaboration between the Arts Department and the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Dr. Steve Pierce, Executive Director of Media Alliance, is a media activist and multi-media producer with extensive experience in media reform and sound production. He teaches Radio Production, Engineering Ethics, and Leadership at RPI, where he received a PhD from the Department of Science and Technology Studies. His past jobs experiences in media reform include: Executive Director, Deep Dish TV Network, New York NY, 1989-92, Assistant Manager, Pacifica Radio WBAI, New York NY, 1988-89, Program Director, WWOZ Radio, New Orleans, LA, 1987- 88, and Journalist, New Orleans LA, 1980-87.

Committed Advisors
Pastor Willie Bacote will guide his community in artistic collaborations, host arts, cooking and nutrition workshops in Missing Link, and organize celebrations in Freedom Square. Bacote is an ordained elder in the A.M.E. Zion Church, and the pastor of the Missing Link Street Ministry. He has collaborated with Media Alliance on many media education and communication resources for his community youth, many of whom are beneficiaries of his “Feed-A-Kid” and Anti- Violence programs. “The youth media program represents hope for these kids,” said Pastor Bacote. Pastor Bacote is a graduate of Payne Theological Seminary, holds a Bachelors of Christian Ministry and a Masters of Divinity from Christian Bible College and Seminary.

Abby Husten Lublin, as founder and organizer of Collard City Growers, will integrate garden and nutrition education with arts workshops, coordinate implementation at CCG, plan and guide the growing of bio-arts materials, and will help coordinate workshops with neighborhood youth and leaders. Lublin is a community educator, organizing projects in urban agriculture, storytelling, youth apprenticeships, and alternative economies, helping Troy transform itself to a truly sustainable and equitable city. She hosts the Front Parlor Storytelling series in Troy and Albany, a public sharing event used for community-building. From 2001-2009 she taught English and Technology at The Beacon School in New York City, an alternative-assessment public high school using project-based learning and portfolios. She served as the Education Coordinator at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe from 2009-2010 before moving to the Capital Region. Lublin earned a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia College and an M.A. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College of Columbia University.

Rita Cao-Garcia will work with students from the neighborhood in mural and arts workshops. Garcia is the leading artist/teacher of the School One Community Art Program (CAP) at School 1, which enhances students’ learning experience with after school art projects. She has taught at School One for the past 32 years, teaching social studies and art in a self-contained program to children with multiple disabilities. She has collaborated with Troy Alley Action and her students on amazing mural projects, which have enhanced the streets of Troy. Garcia holds a bachelors and masters in special education from Russell Sage College. She grew up in the neighborhood of the proposed project.

Pastor Nina Nichols will create a bridge between the City and diverse communities of Troy. Nichols is an at-large City Council member, and Head of the Public Safety Council for the City of Troy. In her current role as senior pastor of Christ Church United Methodist, she is skilled and nationally recognized with over 15 years of experience leading diverse congregations and serving on national committees and boards. Nina has developed a church community that both opens its doors to assist local community service agencies and effectively manages its finances. She has an established history of working cooperatively with the city of Troy, NY, on a variety of issues, including homelessness and community revitalization. She is originally from central Texas, where she was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church, and has served rural, suburban and urban churches in Texas, Illinois and New York.